Fake Trump-Putin news story used to tout film: report
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A fictitious report on the The Sacramento Dispatch that President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE met with Russian President Vladimir Putin is actually a promo for an upcoming movie, according to a new report.

The fake news article has been appearing online ahead of the release of “A Cure for Wellness” this Friday, The Hollywood Reporter said Monday.

The movie is a psychological horror thriller about a young executive who travels to a mysterious center in the Alps looking for his company’s CEO.

The fake news promo ran on what fact-checking site Snopes describes as "part of a new network of fake news sites that masquerade as the online outlets of big-city newspapers," the Hollywood Reporter noted. 

The fictitious report claims Trump and Putin met at the movie's make-believe facility – the Volmer Institute – before Election Day last year.

The faux story, which was created by Fox and New Regency for the film, runs under a headline, “BOMBSHELL: Trump and Putin Spotted at Swiss Resort Prior to Election.”

“I couldn’t, in good conscience, keep this information to myself,” a Volmer Institute "employee" named Nathan Sjogren is quoted as saying in the article.

“This is bigger than me, this is bigger than my job, and while I know I am very likely putting myself as well as my loved ones in danger by coming forward, I don’t know that I would be able to live with myself had I kept quiet.”

The Reporter said the fake account appears on The Sacramento Dispatch website alongside ads for “A Cure for Wellness."

“Although the Sacramento Dispatch website mimics that of real newspapers and does not identify itself as fake news, the site has a track record for publishing hoaxes (e.g., reporting that the American Medical Association had classified ‘Trump Depression Disorder’ as a new disease),” Snopes reported. 

Fox and Regency on Monday defended their marketing strategy for “A Cure for Wellness,” following criticism from Twitter users about the move.

“’A Cure for Wellness' is a movie about a ‘fake’ cure that makes people sicker,” the movie studios said. "As part of this campaign, a ‘fake’ wellness site healthandwellness.co was created and we partnered with a fake news creator to publish fake news."

“As our movie’s antagonist says, ‘There is a sickness inside us. And only when we know what ails us, can we hope to find the cure.'"